Aquinas College, Tauranga

Aquinas College elected to upgrade the air quality in Blocks C, D, E, F and Wharenui at its site in Pyes Pa, Tauranga. The project involved the introduction of cassette type air-conditioning systems to provide heating and cooling and additional ventilation systems to introduce fresh air into classrooms. CO2 sensors were also installed to assist with managing air quality in classrooms.

In each block the works involved the removal of existing ceiling mounted panel heaters, installing cassette units, fresh air supply systems and CO2 sensors. Special bulkheads were constructed to conceal the fresh air systems and were configured to make the equipment readily accessible for servicing. In two of the five blocks the existing power supply had to be upgraded to cater for the new equipment. Fresh air intake louvers and passive vents were installed through external cladding in each classroom. New concrete plinths were cast to provide firm mounting for the outdoor condenser units. Protection cages were installed around each outdoor unit. Minor works to suspended ceilings were also required.

The project was delivered in a live school environment which meant works had to be carefully planned. Significant progress was made during the school holidays in December 2022/January 2023 as well as the Easter break in April 2023. The project was staged with Blocks C, D and the Wharenui being completed simultaneously and Blocks F and E following so that the school was able to accommodate all students during the works.

The project commenced when equipment lead times were extended due to the lingering impact of the Covid pandemic. All equipment orders were placed within a few days of contract award. Some of the overseas suppliers were not back to full production so equipment deliveries were sporadic and challenging to manage. Q and its subcontractors had to work hard to stay on top of equipment deliveries and in some areas installation could not be fully completed as blocks were handed back to the school for occupation. Once delayed equipment items arrived incomplete systems were completed by working out of school hours.

During the works, several non-compliant fire detection and passive fire items were discovered. These were progressively resolved as the project team worked through the different blocks.

The mechanical and architectural design was conceptual and the Q team along with its sub-contractors applied much effort to resolve clashes with existing services and structure whilst retro-fitting the new systems in to the existing classrooms. The structural design of each of the Blocks is different so new solutions had to be found as each block was upgraded.

The Q team along with the electrical, fire detection and mechanical services sub-contractors successfully resolved these challenges to the satisfaction of the project design team and school. The project was completed within the approved project timeframe.

RC Bishop of Hamilton
Project Value
1.55 million
November 22 - May 2023
Rubix, Ignite Architects, Cosgroves
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